The PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights Joins the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund in Announcing the Inaugural Recipients of the $50,000

Spotlighting Women Documentary Award


Jessica Alba, Amir Bar-Lev, Frida Giannini, and Edward Norton among 2011 Jury Members



[New York, NY – June 1, 2011] –The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Gucci today announced the 2011 recipients selected for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. The Fund, now in its fourth year, provides finishing finances, year-round support and guidance to domestic and international documentary filmmakers with feature-length films highlighting and humanizing issues of social importance from around the world. Nine projects have been selected from450 submissions from 38 countries to receive a total of $150,000, to be administered by the Tribeca Film Institute.


New this year, The PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights, has joined the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, and created the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award which will annually provide funding of $50,000. Three film projects that illuminate the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character, and contributions of women from around the world have been chosen for the inaugural award.


2011 projects were selected by a jury consisting of Jessica Alba, Amir Bar-Lev, Wendy Ettinger, Frida Giannini, Edward Norton, and Mariane Pearl. The committee chose the recipients from finalists selected by TFI.  In addition to funding, grantees will each receive year-round support from TFI, including one-on-one guidance and consultation, helping each film to reach completion and enter the marketplace in the best possible position.


“We recognize the invaluable role that documentary films play in helping to bring important social concerns out into the open and thus create meaningful conversation,” said Beth Janson, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute. “We are proud of this year’s selections and are committed to our ongoing partnership with Gucci and new relationship with the PPR Foundation to continue to help inspire change through film.”


The projects that will collectively receive $100,000 total in funding for the 2011 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund are:


  • An American Promise (Director, Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster)
  • Caught in the Net (Director, Hilla Medalia)
  • Democrats (Director, Camilla Nielsson, Producer, Henrik Veileborg) 
  • The Great Invisible (Producer/Director Margaret Brown, Producer, Jason Orans) 
  • Untitled Global Health Documentary (Director, Kief Davidson)
  • Charge (Director, Mike Plunkett)


The projects that will collectively receive $50,000 total in funding for the inaugural 2011 Spotlighting Women Documentary Award are:


  • Barefoot Engineers (Director, Jehane Noujaim)
  • Justice for Sale (Directors, Ilse & Femke van Velzen)
  • The World Before Her (Director, Nisha Pahuja)


“These are the films that people should be keeping an eye out for in the months ahead,” said jury member Amir Bar-lev. “These projects effectively push the form of documentary filmmaking and defy established conventions, taking audiences to places that they never imagined existed.”

Films funded through the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund examine larger issues through engaging stories including: an intimate portrayal of how race and privilege are experienced by African American middle class families in the US today; three teens living in China who receive treatment for the classification of internet addiction; the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe; an inside look at the Gulf Coast through characters who work in the oil and fishing industries; the story of a remarkable public health charity operating in the world's poorest countries; and a look at today’s Green Revolution through the increasing conflict over lithium. The grantees projects include:



  • An American Promise, Directed by Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster—An American Promise  follows filmmaker-parents who spend 12 years with the camera turned on themselves and another African American family as their firstborn sons enter a prestigious college preparatory school in 1999. An intimate, poignant and complex portrayal of how race and privilege are experienced by African American middle class families today.


  • Caught in the Net, Directed by Hilla Medalia—Caught in the Net follows China as the first country in the world to classify Internet Addiction as a clinical disorder. The film features a Beijing treatment center where Chinese teenagers are being de-programmed. We follow the lives of three teens from the day they arrive throughout their three month treatment period and their return home.


  • Democrats, Directed by Camilla Nielsson and Produced by Henrik Veileborg—Democrats is a film about the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. The film follows two top politicians, who have been appointed to lead the country through the reform process. The two men are political opponents, but united in the ambition to make history by giving the nation a new founding document - that can give birth to the future's Zimbabwe.


  • The Great Invisible, Produced and Directed by Margaret Brown and Produced by Jason Orans—The Great Invisible is a feature-length look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast. Much like Margaret Brown’s last documentary The Order of Myths, this film will be shot in a verité style with select interviews to supplement verité information. In addition to the people in the film, the landscapes of the oil world will be established as a distinct character.


  • Untitled Global Health Documentary, Directed by Kief Davidson— Untitled Global Health Documentary is the story of Partners In Health, a remarkable public health charity operating in the world's poorest countries PIH's controversial founders, including Dr. Paul Farmer are larger-than-life heroes, fighting to change the way the world cares for the poorest among us, by insisting on healthcare as an inalienable human right.


  • Charge, Directed by Mike Plunkett—Charge is a look at the Green Revolution already underway,  and the conflict over lithium, a key energy resource, which has rapidly escalated. Against a background of conflict, the disparate fates of three men hang in the balance.


The new Spotlighting Women Documentary Awards will expand the reach of the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund illuminating the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character, and contributions of women from around the world including: the story of three woman who go on a life-changing journey to become solar engineers; a courageous woman and her husband who fight for justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and the stirring conflict surrounding beauty pageants in India. The grantees projects include: 


  • Barefoot Engineers, Directed by Jehane Noujaim—Barefoot Engineers follows three women who leave their remote villages to go on a life-changing journey to India with the hopes of becoming Solar Engineers. When they return to their villages, they will wire their communities and turn on the lights.


  • Justice for Sale, Directored by Ilse & Femke van Velzen—Justice for Sale is a dramatic story which follows two young, courageous human rights lawyers who refuse to accept that justice is indeed "For Sale" in their country. Claudine and her husband Eugene, fight for justice to end impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


  • The World Before Her, Directed by Nisha Pahuja—The World Before Her asks: Beauty Pageants-- passé in the West--but in India, where women remain second-class citizens, can they actually be empowering? The World Before Her follows two converging story lines--that of the girls who want to become Miss India, and that of the forces that want the pageant banned.


About the Tribeca Film Institute:
The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)3 year round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001. TFI empowers filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource and advocate for individual artists in the field. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Administering a dozen major programs annually, TFI is a critical contributor to the fabric of filmmaking and aids in protecting the livelihood of filmmakers and media artists.

 For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit


About Gucci:
Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci is one of the world's leading luxury fashion brands. With a renowned reputation for quality and Italian craftsmanship, Gucci designs, manufactures and distributes highly desirable products such as leather goods (handbags, small leather goods, and luggage), shoes, ready-to-wear, silks, timepieces and fine jewelry. Eyewear and fragrances are manufactured and distributed under license by global industry leaders in these two sectors. Gucci products are sold exclusively through a network of directly operated boutiques (327 DOS as of March 2011) and a small number of selected department and specialty stores.


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